10Trax: Janelle Monae is going to steal your girl

Prince's prodigy returns with a homage to the Purple One's sound, JD. Reid sets a new bar for the UK and there's a new Courtney Barnett album in the works as well.

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It’s been a properly good seven days for new releases this week so I don’t even really have anything to complain about in this intro paragraph. Even the BRITs stepped up so I can’t moan about that either (we could get into foo Fighters beating LCD Soundsystem for Best International group but let’s keep it positive for once). New music from Father John Misty, new album announcements from Janelle Monae and Courtney Barnett and a selection of killer new mixtapes/EPs from some of the UK’s best underground talents, if only every Friday was like this.

Father John Misty – ‘Mr Tillman’

The day Father John Misty takes a day off from being the world’s most ironic rockstar is the day the music dies. ‘Mr Tillman’ is another in his long line of self-obsessed ballads, this time set in a hotel lobby and including choice lyrics such as “what a nice tattoo that young man had on his face” and “those aren’t extras in a movie / they’re our clientele”. Never change Padre.

Courtney Barnett – ‘Nameless, Faceless’  

Somehow between making and then touring her collaborative album with Kurt Vile last year, Courtney Barnett found the time to make another solo LP. The woman is a marvel. First single ‘Nameless, Faceless’ is a rebuttal to all the misogynists, both online and in the flesh.

Insecure Men – ‘I Don’t Want to Dance (With My Baby)’

Insecure Men’s debut album is out today and if the hype is to be believed, it’s about to move them from ‘Fat White Family side project’ status to ‘really good band that happens to contain a member of Fat White Family’. ‘I Don’t Want To Dance (With My Baby)’ is already a classic. It’s creepy and catchy and completely surreal.

Twin Shadow – ‘Saturdays ft. HAIM’

It’s a big week for returns and Twin Shadow coming back with an 80s-drenched anthem to the weekend that features HAIM is one of the biggest returns we’ve seen in a while. I’d say you should play this song with the wind blowing through your hair but it’s going to be very, very cold this weekend so just dance around your living room to it instead.

Janelle Monae – ‘Make Me Feel’

Janelle Monae is back and if her two new singles are anything to go by she’s feeling herself big time. ‘Make Me Feel’ is a Prince-inspired, pop-infused anthem to sexual liberation with a neon-saturated video to match. Janelle Monae has always been operating on the cusp of fully fledged stardom, 2018 looks like the year she tips the scale in her favour.

Poppy Ajudha – ‘Where Did I Go?’

The more music Poppy Ajudha puts out, the more we’re convinced that she was transported here from a 1930s jazz bar to save our souls. Her new EP Femme is stunning and ‘Where Did I Go?’ is a soaring, show-stopping highlight. It’s grand and romantic and someone needs to edit this into the soundtrack of some beautifully tragic 1950s drama as soon as humanly possible.

Raye – ‘Cigarette ft. Mabel & Stefflon Don’ 

First, there was the Dua Lipa, Charli XCX, Zara Larsson etc. version of ‘IDGAF’ and now this, so clearly Europe’s new wave of female pop stars are embracing the mob cut in 2018. ‘Cigarette’ is a dancehall flavoured banger with some very nicely produced percussion. Raye bosses the hook, Mabel does her diva thing and Stefflon comes through in full patois, this one is going to be everywhere.

JD. Reid – ‘Piggy Bank ft. slowthai’

Two of the UK’s most unique new talents join forces on this cut from Reid’s new mixtape Tree. This is what London sounds like now, get used to it.

Age of L.U.N.A – ‘Maybe Yeah’

The boom bappers from Mars have finally dropped their debut album. It’s been years in the making and is more than worth the wait. ‘Maybe Yeah’ is a particular highlight, rich with a jazzy beat and laidback vocals.

Wiki – ‘Hands Out’

Wiki teaming up with London’s Suspect shouldn’t be a surprise given that his love of the UK is well known but still, I don’t think anyone saw this coming. This one even beats out JD. Reid and slowthai for grittiness.

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